I thought I would take a break from the normal posting and post the essay I used on my AMCAS application it gives a very broad view of my background and may be useful to those applying to medical school as a sample essay. I will also be posting some of my secondary essays as there is a lack of good examples of answers to other questions that medical schools may ask.
While working in the emergency room, in July of 2005, a woman was brought in with a gunshot wound to the left side of her abdomen. After no pulse was found I was given the order to begin compressions. Dr. Treat, the trauma surgeon, slipped in a central line while the nurses attached the rapid infusion set and began administering whole blood. After about ten minutes of CPR and defibrillation her pulse was restored, and she was rushed to the operating room where the emergency team left her.
As I walked away from the emergency room I began to reflect on the people and experiences that influenced my decision to pursue a career in medicine. I remember waiting to play the first note of a Chopin Etude at my freshman piano recital. My heart was pounding and my hands began to sweat. I felt the eyes of the audience staring at me. As the music soared the audience seemed to fade until I finished the last note. I stood the audience rose in a chorus of applause. I felt great joy, pride, and a little relieved when my piece was finished. Following my bow, I rose with a new found confidence in my abilities obtained from years of practice. As a musician, I developed confidence, persistence, discipline, and a unique attention to detail without losing the broader scope of the masterpiece. These skills have complemented my path in biology, and I will use them to accomplish my goal of becoming a doctor.
In college, I used the discipline I learned from years of playing the piano in my study of biology, volunteering in the inner city of Minneapolis, working night security in the dorms, and researching in genetics. Although music was instrumental in developing my aptitude to complete these undertakings, a number of factors helped to direct my decision to pursue medicine as a career. It was the development of three loves in me: my love for science, my love for people in need, and my love for the medical profession.
My freshman biology class taught by Dr. Bruce Simat first inspired my love for science. It opened a world to me where even the simplest carbon based molecules became a source of wonder. I further developed my love for science through research in genetics as an undergraduate and in cellular neuroscience as a graduate student at Tulane University. Research added a new dimension of independent study to my enthusiasm for biology.
Dr. Simat ignited not only my interest in biology but also my love for people in need. He continually challenged his students to contribute and to make a difference in the world. I first contributed to the city of Minneapolis through Streetlight and soon after, by a mission trip to Trinidad in January 2004. On that trip I first experienced direct patient care. Our team excitedly walked into an orphanage, and immediately, I noticed something different and unfamiliar about the strange shabby room and the children that stood along the far wall. These children were all victims the AIDS epidemic. The children were silent; not one dared to be the first to say hello to these strange white-skinned people. I could see they had been starved for more than medical attention; they longed for human touch and compassion. I saw it most in the yellow eyes of Rasha, a skinny black boy, who clasped his arms around my neck within seconds of speaking with him. He was the only one from the group that was suffering from full blown AIDS. Their low living standards and lack of basic medical care was heartbreaking.
My decision to become a doctor finally came from my love for the profession. Working in the emergency room at Fairview Hospital and with mentally and physically disabled men at ACR Homes I experienced patient care first hand. The disabled men I worked with pointed me towards people in great medical need while my work in the emergency room connected me with a career as a physician. My love for the medical profession was deepened the day I spent shadowing Dr. Thelander, a surgeon at the hospital where I worked. I was able to be with him on patient rounds and observe him at work in the operating room. Watching him, I fell in love with patient care. He taught me about dictations, CAT scans, x-rays, and each surgery he did including why it was done. But the best lesson I took away from the experience was his impeccable bedside manner. It appeared as though he loved and respected each of his patients and was interested in treating the entire person not merely the disease.
Working in the emergency room and Dr. Thelander taught me to love and value the patient, while the children in Trinidad opened my eyes to the fragility of life. Through these experiences I became aware that people still would die, children still would be infected with AIDS, men and women still would be murdered, making the world appear to be a hopeless place. This led me to the conclusion that the goal of a doctor is not only to cure disease but also to enter into a position of servant leadership in the community, and to invest in people's lives, whether in research or patient care. As a pianist serves the spirit of mankind through art, I prefer to become a physician to serve the physical and emotional needs of others through my love for science and my love of the patient.